Williams College Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?


Athletics take up a lot of people’s time on campus. Many who don’t participate in varsity sports choose club or intramurals, and the gym is almost always full when classes aren’t in session. The outdoors are definitely something to take advantage of, and there are many opportunities to do so, from backpacking trips available through the outing club to walks in the surrounding countryside. Because the school is so small and students are so busy, many student-run groups are managed by handfuls of dedicated students. It’s easy to become very involved in clubs even as an underclassman, but it’s also easy to try out new clubs and leave ones that you’re not interested in. There are definitely parties on the weekends - some are school sponsored and some take place in dorms - but after a few weekends of homogeneous partying a lot of people choose to stay in with their friends. There are a lot of students who hold similar interests, but unless you attend the club fair at the beginning of the year, they can sometimes be difficult to find.




Students use their extracurricular groups and their close friends for the majority of the fun on weekends. A club or a group of friends (the two often overlap!) find activities to do with one another: The nightlife at Williams is very quiet. There are a few bars in town, and there is usually one party per weekend (on average--there may be more depending on the point in the semester), but it is difficult to tell when any of these endeavors will be well-attended. Students usually hang out with their dorm mates, watch movies or attend the late night dining hall. Again, without friends your weekends will be lonely, but with them, you'll have a great time.


A large percentage of students are involved in Varsity, JV, and intramural sports--varsity games usually get a pretty good crowd. But most students are involved in other activities as well. A cappella has exploded at Williams; there are currently 8 a cappella groups, which (I think) are more than most large universities have. The groups receive a lot of support from the student body at their concerts. I am a member of the Ephlats, one of the co-ed groups on campus. In general, there are a lot of opportunities to get involved in the arts (dance, theater, music, etc) and these concerts also get a good turnout from the student body. As far as weekend life goes, drinking is pretty popular at Williams, but there are always other activities going on for those who don't drink or don't feel like drinking on a given weekend; these include concerts/performances, guest speakers (though there are less on the weekend), movie theaters (a small one in town, bigger ones within driving distance), and a bowling alley (driving distance), among others. There is a limited amount going on off campus, but there is some stuff to do if you have a car and are willing to make a trip. Especially after a stressful week, students are eager to get out and do something--whether or not that includes drinking. But sometimes the workload can prevent them from going out as much as they might like to. Going out on weeknights is pretty rare for most students.


The most popular student groups are the athletic teams, without a doubt. We draw a lot of athletes to our school because we're good at them. I play on the golf team, for example. Athletic events are pretty popular; it's awesome to see your friends participate in the NESCAC sports events. My friends come from all different places. One friend group I made through the freshman entry system, another I made through the golf team. I made other friends through the jazz band/combo and another group in class. There are a lot of opportunities to make friends here. The dating scene at Williams is like anywhere else; it's what you make of it. The people here are not aliens; they're people too! If you like someone, go for it! People are accepting and encouraging for the most part. If I'm awake on a Tuesday at 2am (by the way, I really like this question), I am undoubtedly working on something that's due soon. I happen to be a night person so I'm always up at 2am ... and I'm always working. This is the truth; Williams students work all the time. Sunday-Thursday is work time, and the weekends usually entail some sort of partying (not with frats/sororities because there are none). A Saturday night will certainly present its options of drinking venues, but the college is conscious of this and as such offers music concerts and other such events to compensate. There are always things unassociated with drinking transpiring on the campus. They're not hard to find either.


The social life here can leave a bit to be desired. Honestly, most people know that before coming here. Williamstown is small and can only offer so much. That being said, there is still plenty to do. There's always schoolwork, but there are also movies, cultural food nights, craft nights, parties, and sometimes there's Contra dancing. This weekend there was a step team performance, there were a couple of movies, and there was an asian food night. Craig Robinson from the Office did a comedy show here recently. If you like to party there's always someone partying, but there's no need to. Williams sponsors non alcoholic events every weekend. Plus you can always play board games, watch movies, or just hang out with friends. There is NO dating scene. People are either "married" or just randomly hooking up. Many of the people who are "married" started out randomly hooking up. I think it is like this at many colleges, NOT just Williams.


Ultimate frisbee is one of the most popular groups at Williams, though a capella groups are fairly popular as well. Except for the homecoming game, most athletic events are well attended, many people will have conflicting events of their own to participate in. Theatre, a capella, and dance performances tend to be well attended, but guests speaker audiences can vary from a handful to standing room only depending on the topic and the number of simultaneous events. Most friendships are made in four ways: through class, sports, or the entry (the group you live with you're freshman year), and via other friends. There is an annual Winter Carnival in February and Mountain Day sometime in the fall were you get the Friday out of class. A biannual trivia contest engages many entries, though the winner faces the responsibility of running the next competition. There are no frats and few off campus activities, but many people party every weekend.


Williams has plenty of opportunities to get active in something, but most of these involve either a) being athletic or b) being interested in liberal political causes. If you are an overweight Conservative, you'll be spending a lot of time in your room. Despite the athletic nature of the school, athletic events, outside of the well-attended homecoming football game, are largely ignored by the larger student body. Guest speakers and theater performances draw even less of a crowd. The dating scene at Williams is atrociously dysfunctional. You can either sleep with a different person every weekend or get engaged to the first person you go to the movies with Freshman year. There are no in-betweens. Friendships are built largely through participation on sports teams, or by people you lived with Freshmen year. You're not really going to meet anyone that you haven't met at the end of Freshman year. Socially, given the middle-of-nowhere location and the stress of juggling all the academic work, weekends are about getting as drunk or as high as possible. Nothing else substantial occurs, and no one would even think to hold an event without offering some sort of mind-altering substance. Sunday evenings find the typical Williams quad littered with beer cans and vomit, and Sunday evening dinners are little more than opportunities to talk about what drunken mistakes you made over the weekend.


The sports teams are great, we all hang out with each other because everyone who doesnt play a sport is obsessed with studying or just awkward.


Frisbee is pretty big. Football is only really popular during homecoming. The Williams Outing Club is the biggest organization on campus, and an awesome one at that (I might be a little biased here, being a board member and all). Mountain Day rocks my socks. So too does Winter Carnival. Parties occur every weekend, and often times on various weekdays as well, but there are a whole range of types when it comes to that. If I'm up at 2am on a Tues., I'm definitely studying, and I'd say that is the case for most types, but people do like to have some fun on the weekends. Dating scene is, well, typical. No fraternities or sororities. This is one of the reasons I came to Williams. We can manage to make friends without that shit. There's plenty of theatre around (Williamstown Theatre Festival over the summer is world renowned, '62 Center for Theatre and Dance attracts both lots of nifty traveling acts and provides a space for the myriad of student-run plays). I've already mentioned all the fun outdoor stuff there is to do (WOC). All the teams seem to have loyal followings, including among alumni. There's organizations (and funding) for just about everything, from minority coalitions, to smoothies, to chess and everything in between. Very easy to start your own special interest club and get some cash for it from the school. My closest friends I met freshman year in my entry, and then when I moved in with a new group of people sophomore year (who I have lived with since).


Parties are frequent though some are better than others. No frats of sororities so thats good.


Students leave doors open if they want to socialize. Dating scene is nonexistant. Met my friends out on weekends/living together. If I am awake at 2 am on a Tuesday, I am studying. Most people party 2-3 nights a week (if you are in the party crowd). Social life revolves mostly around on-campus events. Homecoming, the crawfish broil, and meadow beach party (the later being thrown by houses/dorms each year) are annual parties.


there are racism issues and people who don't respect the school by destroying everything and pooping everywhere. These people are generally contained to tyler house and tyler annex and some parts of the greylock quad. There is minimal dating but that has been an epidemic everywhere. Its not a big deal b/c there is nowhere to take a date anyway.


There are no Greek societies on campus; they were banned in the 1960s. A capella groups are very popular on campus, as are environmental groups such as Thursday Night Group and volunteer clubs that help out at shleters and soup kitchens. Many students are active on sports teams. People are VERY relaxed about their belongings on campus - no one really steals anything on campus. Doors are left open, things are strewn all over the place. The dating scene, due to the small college town and campus size, is not really top notch. I met my closest friends through orientation and through the entry system. One of the biggest traditions of Williams is Mountain Day. It occurs on a random Friday in October, and the President sends an email to all students and faculty that class is canceled and detailing the many hiking activities and concerts that go on.


Sports teams have been compared with fraternities to give you a visual.


There are no popular groups on campus really...but everyone knows about the football team I guess because of homecoming, but every group is equally ignored by most people on campus that are not in that club. The Thursday Night Group is the Environmental acitivist club and they are the most visible group on campus I suppose. I am involved with a dance group called Kusika. I only joined during second semester, but I had a wonderful time! Although it is difficult to juggle extracurricular activities and school work, every student manages to do SO much more than they probably should be. Students leave their dorm rooms open constantly. I am one of the only people in my dorm who locked my door every single time I left for class. There is very little fear of theft on campus. Athletic events are popular for other athletes or friends of athletes, but a Williams student can survive their entire time at Williams very easily without ever attending or caring about any athletic event of any kind. Lectures are amazing, wonderful and constantly happening. Theater, dance and other visual arts are important to the people involved with them and their friends/family, but not really for people outside of them. There is virtually no dating scene at Williams College. People hook up at Williams and then they go out for a month and then they break up and continue to hook up as friends. There are a few "married couples" (i.e. couples that seem to be attached at the hip/have been together for a long time) on campus, but very, very few people seem interested in relationships. I met my closest friends in my entry, which is basically my dorm. If I am awake at 2 am on a Tuesday I am most likely working or I am in the common room watching TV and promising myself that I will go start working in 5 minutes...right after this commercial...after this show is over...10 more minutes... Homecoming and mountain day are every year. Mountain day is a wonderful tradition. Every third friday of Semptember (or something) people come running through your dorm banging on pots and pans to inform you that it's Mountain Day and there are NO CLASSES! It's a fun-filled day of singing, hiking and apple cider. It's a very wonderful day. I love Mountain Day because as a tradition it truly celebrates the beauty of the Berkshires and the community at Williams College. Most people go out two nights a week (Friday and Saturday) if there are no midterms or finals, or only once a week or not at all if there are midterms or finals. The amount that someone drinks or goes out dancing is totally dependent on how much work they have the next day and what events, concerts, parties are happening that weekend and how good they sound. Williams does not have any frats or sororities, but the acapella and athletic groups on campus are pretty substantial replacements. People who are on the same team or in the same singing group spend a lot of time together so they bond and often party together. On any given Saturday night, there is not much to do besides drinking and/or dancing. Although this is a sad fact for non-drinkers, they try to find things to do and the school tries to supply events like concerts, comedians, lecturers, etc. I almost never go off campus unless...I actually never go off campus. The only reason to leave campus is if you really need something from Stop and Shop or Walmart that cannot be found on Spring Street. People also tutor at the local high school off campus or work for various community service organizations in neighboring towns such as Pittsfield or North Adams.


There's a large drinking culture on campus, which I think has been made worse by the administrations new, less tolerant attitude toward alcohol. Students tend to drink hard alcohol in small groups in their rooms, instead of drinking at parties where they are more likely to get caught. I've seen a few of my friends go to the hospital because of drinking irresponsibly. Because so many people are interested in drinking, there are not a ton of other activities available on Friday and Saturday night. The entry system was great. I became really close to the twenty other freshmen in my entry, especially in the beginning of the year. Overall Williams students are really friendly and willing to help each other out. There's a real sense of community, despite the lack of non-drinking related activities planned.


A lot of sports and extracurricular activities. Join them, its fun and works towards providing you with a more well-rounded college life. There are something like 30 varsity teams and tons of intramural sports/activities. We have a strong outdoor club, a campus newspaper, and all sorts of activities. Our school also encourages students to start their own groups and is generous in its funding of these activities. See above for ideas on the social life...I've already answered it.


A capella, football, cross country, and dance come to mind as popular campus activities. My personal favorites, though, are Bhangra (Indian Dance) and Jazz Ensemble. Saxophoning with the Jazz Ensemble is one of my favorite things, as is dancing to modern Bollywood dance tunes. Bhangra is always looking for more members, especially men, but the people it attracts are always fun. You have to have a sense of humor to dance like that. I met my closest friends through Bhangra, Japanese, or psychology class. If you're awake at 2am on a Tuesday, you're studying. Unless you're having an impromptu wine party with friends in strict defiance of that coming test (or maybe that's just my friends...). Weekends usually include drinking and studying. Sunday is usually attempted studying, with varying degrees of success. I hear there are sometimes off-campus events at Mass MOCA, the museum of modern art. I've even attended a couple of them. In fact, they're pretty good. The trick is to pull yourself away from your homework for long enough to go see them.


Williams students feel ridiculously safe in Williamstown. Everyone leaves their doors unlocked, leaves their laptops in the library while they go to get a snack, etc. There is a lot of trust and respect for others on campus. The dating scene at Williams? What dating scene? You are either single, hooking up, or in a relationship. Parties are sometimes disappointing (we have no greek life), but concerts, swim team parties, etc. always pull a big, fun crowd. Most people "belong" to one group or another. Our environmentally conscious group is very popular, and it seems like nearly everyone is either on a sports team and/or involved in dance/music/art/theater. Games and performances are pretty well attended. Williams students enjoy partaking in a wide range of activities. Most people would enjoy attending a lecture, watching a frisbee tournament, and going to an a capella concert. The typical "jocks," "artists," "nerds" divisions don't apply.


Students definitely leave their dorm doors open. Especially if there doors have key holes instead of number pads. There is no crime in Williamstown. Seriously. I'm from a big city and the first week I saw people just putting their bags/purses down in the atrium to go the dining hall and I flipped out, asking them what they were doing, telling them their bag was going to get stolen. Took me a while to realize no one steals anything around here. It's crazy cool! If you're awake on a Tuesday at 2am you're either doing work you started too late or hanging out with people and having an awesome time. There's also a party that happens every Tuesday, so you could be partying it up. People party a lot. Work hard and play hard. There's a party basically everyday, but alcohol is never forced on people and pressure to drink is extremely low normally (which raises to kind of low on sports teams). There are a lot of people that don't drink on campus and most come to parties and dance and hang out. There are no frats or sororities on campus. They were abolished many years ago and for that I'm glad. The row houses are still student housing though - awesome student housing at that.


People work hard during the week at Williams and party on the weekends. The typical weekend involves watching sporting events during the day on Saturday and going out at night. Students often hit up a performance on Saturday night at 10 to watch their peers sing or dance and then go out afterwards. There are no fraternities or sororities which is really nice. Partying pretty much stays on campus or at off campus houses that are very close by. Most of my social life revolves around the sports teams I am on. If I don't go out drinking on a weekend night I watch movies with my friends. For being in the middle of nowhere Williams does are really good job at getting fun concerts like Guster, Gunther, Afroman, and Third Eye Blind.


Most people do something social every friday and saturday, although there are always some people that stay in to do some extra work. Many people drink, and that's usually a big part of the social life, although it's certainly not hard to not drink. There are always some events that don't involve alcohol and they're very well attended. There aren't any fraternities or sororities, which has a good effect on the social life because events seem much more open to everyone.


If I'm awake at 2 am on a tuesday. I am probably either playing playstation, playing online poker, or drinking (I didnt have class on wednesday this spring). Many people will be studying, so I take it upon myself to annoy them or convince them to drink with me. You can usually find someone to drink with on almost any night so its not like you're alone.


Big Drinking Culture... supported financially and verbally (through drinking jokes and rhetoric) by faculty and alumni. Because of the often stressful environment and sports team atmosphere promoting drinking, students tend to drink too much on the weekends as a kind of release. Many students also think they can't be themselves or dance freely unless they are "buzzed." If you can't be yourself on a daily basis then there is a problem. Weeknight parting is not so much an issue as students know they have to make it to class prepared the next morning. Hard to date because so much going on. Some consider having a boyfriend or girlfriend like have a 5th class (4 is normal load).


i have been to many student performances, including improvisational comedy, a cappella, student bands, plays, dance groups, etc. there are no fraternities/sororities, not everyone drinks, only if you want to.


My closest friends are from my entry and my crew team. The people you spend the most time with you will be closest to. There are no frats/sororities, which I think is great. Sports teams or neighborhoods host parties on the weekends usually. There is not alot of partying during the week because people are busy doing other things.


As a freshman I made it my goal to participate in as few activities as was physically possible. I was exhausted after being involved in every club, sport, music and dance group possible in high school and needed a break. However, as a sophomore I decided I missed those activities and was truly letting many opportunities here pass me by so I tried out for the Williams Softball Team and love every minute of it. Athletics are extremely important here and I feel great knowing I am part of such a wonderful tradition.


Sports teams dominate for sure. Each team works a little differently and some teams are tight with their team of the opposite gender, and some are not. I'm on the rugby team and we certainly fit the play together and hang out together stereotype. We have a lot of social events alone and with the men's team, lots of traditions too. I met my best friends through rugby but I think the diversity of people on my team provided all sorts of people for me to meet so it's not just that I'm friends with other rugby players so much as I am friends with people who are like me. The campus is definitely safe and secure, most leave their doors unlocked, I literally leave my door open. Lately the music scene is picking up on campus, a much appreciated change since we're relatively isolated it's important that the fun is brought to us. Another important social connection is in the entry system. An entry is a group of people you live with as a freshman--for most these become a main friend source. This is not the case for me and personally I don't like the idea that you should be friends with people you live with because you live with them, I think it's important to find people you like.


Doors open. Rugby is a collection of alcoholics who revel in their shady status. Frisbee is quite popular, but male, contact sports (football, hockey, lacrosse) rule the social scene. People do date, but it's usually after hooking up first. No frats. Most people only go out Thursday, Friday, Saturday, but midweek parties, though small, do exist and are fun.


The Footbal team, Basketball team, and Frisbee team are quite popular. The most popular organizations are the acapella groups. Most students always find a group of friends with with they are most comfortable, but continue light social relations with others.


Most popular activies include Outing Club, Thursday Night Group (climate change advocacy), ultimate frisbee, and the track team. Parties generally invovled dancing as well as beer. All parties are free, and there are no frats so it's a very open welcoming atmosphere. Social life is quite active.


The athletes have huge support from the rest of the students and from the townspeople here. The Williams-Amherst competitions, in particular the football game, are wildly popular.


Badminton club rules!


A lot of people drink on weekends, but by no means is it the only thing to do on a Saturday night.


I met my friends through the freshmen housing system, which is known as the entry system. If I am awake at 2 am on a Tuesday, I am doing homework. Williams does not have any fraternities or sororities. If you don't want to drink on a Saturday night, you can go to a dance or theater performance, a guest speaker, or a movie at the local movie theater.


i met my closest friends in the entry system, which basically defines your freshman year.


You can definitely have Saturdays without drinking. Last weekend I danced while baking cookies.


There are lots of cultural things to do on Saturday nights; there's a tiny, one-screen independent movie theatre. And there are lots of performances at the Williamstown theatre.


If I'm awake at 2 am on a Tuesday, I'm doing homework and so is most of the campus. If you're drinking its because you somehow got all your work done and you have an occasion to drink.


A lot of Williams kids are active--literally. Varsity and club sports participants abound (and ultimate frisbee and crew are big). But so do kids involved in theater and a cappella. There is no Greek scene. There are plenty of interesting lectures and speakers each week, and there's a dance or theater show seemingly every weekend at the gorgeous 62 Center for Theater and Dance.


It is really hard for us to have great parties because of the lack of a good space to hold them. Various student groups are trying to fix that and are being met with moderate success. I don't know about other schools, but generally Williams students drink alot and a lot of the social activities are based around drinking. The dating scene is nonexistent. You are either drunkenly hooking up or practically married.


A huge part of life at Williams is spots, whether it's Varsity, JV or club. Sports teams tend to practice, play and party together, sometimes living together as well. Big events are Homecoming and Spring Fling, but there are school-wide events throughout the year. Most common are parties hosted by a bunch of friends, a house, or a dorm, either for a birthday or some theme. Frats and sororities don't exist here and I think that is a huge plus for this campus. The dating scene consists of either long-term couples and random one-night hookups - there isn't much in between. Casual dating - for coffee, dinner, get-to-know you stuff - is pretty rare since the school is so small. The school brings in a ton of amazing guest speakers, but with so much going on these are not always well-attended. Still, this doesn't take anything away from the enjoyment of those who do go. There are also lots of theatre and dance events which take place in the brand new '62 Centre for theatre and dance and these are often very popular.


Socially, athlete culture is dominant. Williams takes its sports seriously, and, as a result, its teams take themselves seriously. Because there are no frats here, in many cases sports teams serve that function. However, it is absolutely possible to have a social life if one does not play sports, but it helps to be associated with something on campus. With no city around, students stay on campus on the weekends, and most activities center around drinking.


What social life?


Sports are popular aspect and the is the one group on campus and another group on campus are the academics the groups get along alright. If im awake at 2 in the morning on tuesday im doing work. Academics invade the social scene.


Sports teams (somewhere it says something like 60{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} of kids here play varsity sports) and a cappella groups (we have 7) are incredibly popular. Crew, Lacrosse, Football, Track/Cross Country are some of the biggest groups. We also have notable basketball, skiing, tennis, hockey, soccer, swimming. Heck, we even have fencing. Williams is very athletic, which means that on various weekends there are either a lot of sober athletes (who have a big meet/game/practice/workout the next day) or a lot of drunk athletes (at team parties). Drinking is moderate as a rule- we don't have a Greek system, and people tend to know their llimits, but that doesn't exlude the odd drunken fiasco. If you're in an a cappella group you might be something of a celebrity- their concerts are very well attended, and with good reason. Theater is also popular- everything from Shakespeare to student-written experiments to Sweeney Todd (Sondheim's an alumnus). Parties tend to be small and scattered, but frequent, however there's lots to do otherwise. I met most of my closest friends in my Entry (like an instant family for freshmen) or through classes and groups. We're fond of playing games, going to shows, or just sitting around talking or watching movies.


I met most of my closest friends in my freshman entry. The entry is a group of 18-22 freshmen that lives together with two Junior Advisors (JAs). This group becomes sort of like a family your first year in college and many people's closest friendships develop in the entry setting. No frats or sororities. Lots of concerts, plays, parties put on by student groups.


the 62 center for theater and dance hold so many performances. There are student productions as well as outside artists brought in. They maintain a pretty high standard of performance and it's really cheap. There is a pretty regular flow of guest speakers for most academic departments, as well. The entry system helps you establish a safety social group, and then you meet new friends through your areas of social interest. There are sports, JV and varsity, choir, accapela groups, theater, dance, and then the parties that are every weekend. I tend to find enough to entertain myself every weekend, be it a party, performance or a movie with my friends.


WHY must people break things when they party? I don't know. I LOVE contra dancing and the dancing group on campus rules. We often go to Greenfield for friday or saturday night dances.